Open Access
Baweja, Raman
Graduate Program:
Public Health Sciences
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 01, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Jonathan A Foulds, Thesis Advisor
  • Katherine M Curci, Thesis Advisor
  • Kristen H Kjerulff, Thesis Advisor
Background: Awareness and use of e-cigarettes (e-cigs) has increased significantly in the last five years, but little is known about the experiences, satisfaction, opinions and important e-cig characteristics for e-cigs users. Methods: We used an Internet survey of 8814 ever-users of e-cigs during December 2012 to October 2013. A random sample (N=200) was selected from participants (N=1177) who completed all open-ended questions on use of, and opinions about e-cigs and their qualitative responses were analyzed. Results: Most respondents were men (69%) from the United States (86%). They had used e-cigs for the 6 months (median) and daily use was around 15 times (median, around 15 puffs or last for 10 minutes). Approximately 79% were former smokers, while 21% were currently smoking traditional cigarettes occasionally or on a daily basis. Respondents used e-cigs for various reasons; most common were to quit smoking, as a safe alternative to use nicotine, feasibility in using at smoke-free places or around other people. Positive effects were health (improved breathing, less coughing, overall positive health) and psychological (feeling good, no craving) benefits. Respondents enjoyed the throat sensations with e-cigs and the availability of the various flavors. The most common side effects were dryness of mouth and throat irritation. Respondents raised some concerns about possible toxicity, about future regulation and legal status, and also recommended need for long-term study on safety profile of e-cigs. Conclusions: E-cig users reported e-cigs helped them to quit smoking and to have positive effects on their health, but several other respondents also raised concern about addiction potential, toxicity and use by first time users. There is an urgent need for research on e-cigs specifically focusing on the efficacy, safety, and toxicity of electronic cigarettes.